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Film: Scream 4

Scream 4 (2011) is the fourth film in the Scream franchise.

It's been over a decade since Sidney last defeated Ghostface and is now living a quiet life in Woodsboro. At the 15th anniversary of the original Woodsboro massacre, another killer surfaces to target not only Sidney, but a new generation of teenagers.


This film provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: The marketing has strongly teased the possibility of series regulars getting killed off. They don't, though all of them come close.
  • Ax-Crazy:
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Jill and Charlie are the joint-killers that donned the Ghostface identity here, the latter for his love towards Jill, and the former to make herself a "sole-surviving hero", getting the fame that comes with the title. Jill soon proves that she's the dominant one, disposing of Charlie to fulfill her own plan.
  • Bond One-Liner
    Sidney: You forgot the first rule of remakes, Jill: Don't fuck with the original.
  • Bury Your Gays: Played for laughs. Robbie states that being gay is probably the only way to survive a horror film. Later when Ghostface attacks him, he admits he's gay thinking it will save him. It doesn't.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Variation. Dewey gets clocked in the head with a bedpan.
  • Casting Gag: Erik Knudsen not only was in the second chapter of the Saw saga, though the forth chapter is mocked in the the Stab openings, but also starred in the CBS TV show Jericho the lead of which was none other than Skeet Ulrich, who played Billy Loomis in the first Scream. And even more surprising or by sheer coincidence, his name in Scream 4 is named Robbie Mercer, which sounds a lot like the name of the character (Bobby Mercer) in Four Brothers who was played by Mark Wahlberg and who is the brother of Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block fame who played Knudsen's father in the second Saw film and is Mark's brother.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: invoked While Stab was entering this with the third installment (the first not based on real life murders), the fact that it got to 7 installments - one of which has time travel - shows it went down the "grab a quick buck" path rather easily.
  • Continuity Nod: The girl in the beginning getting crushed by a garage door.
  • Death by Sex: Apparently, averted. The trailer states that "the rules have changed. Virgins can die now." In the trailernote , this is then promptly used by Kirby for a Take That at the girls sitting next to her:
    "Does that mean I'm not gonna live as long as these two?"
    • The answer seems to be "Yes," but it's never definitely stated she gets it, except by Jill — who has a vested interest in her being dead, and who wasn't on the scene when it happened so it's likely she's only assuming it's such. And since Kirby went down well with fans - being played by Hayden Panettiere didn't hurt - the possibility of her coming back cannot be ruled out. Especially as unlike virtually every other victim throughout the series the last time we see Kirby she's still alive...
    • If Kirby actually died, it's a weird inversion - she died for not having sex (with the eventual murderer of all people, as a Moment Killer ruined their advances on each other).
    • This is played straight by Trevor, who is mentioned to have had sex with Jill (the killer!). This one is especially ironic, given that Trevor and Jill are Billy and Sidney expies, respectively, and Sidney survived having sex with Billy (also the killer) in the original.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Kirby, for Randy from the original.
  • Downer Ending: Yes, in the end, Jill and Charlie's plans are foiled. However, all the new characters, save for Judy (and arguably Kirby), are dead. Sidney, Dewey, and Gale come out injured and broken. The media are convinced that Jill is a hero, and one wonders how Sidney is going to take having to tell the world that her own family member was playing them all like fiddles, and was committing the murders herself.
  • Drinking Game: At the Stabathon.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Jill, especially in the scene where she's self-harming to make herself look like a victim of the killer.
  • Evil Plan: The events of the film were all planned out by Jill, who wanted to kill Sidney, frame Trevor, betray Charlie, and come out the Final Girl of the movie so that she could have the same fame and hero worship that Sidney got for surviving her first three ordeals. The Moral Event Horizon is crossed when she decides that, in order to be more convincing and sympathetic, she had to kill off her own mother, in addition to Sidney. Considering her mother is Mary Mc Donnell, Jill and the movie itself cross a Moral Event Horizon when she succeeds.
  • Fanservice: Putting Lucy Hale, Shenae Grimes, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Aimee Teegarden, Brittany Robertson, Alison Brie, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Marley Shelton and a still-sexy Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox in the same movie defines the term, even if many of them are bumped off before (and in Emma's case, during) the finale. (Come to think of it, for some men a movie in which Alison Brie is thrown off a roof, Hayden Panettiere is stabbed in the stomach and Emma Roberts gets blown away - even if the last named is the killer - is Fan Disservice with a side order of Tear Jerker.) The only survivors, other than guess who, are Kristen (who was actually in the movie within the movie), Marley, and possibly Hayden.
  • Fan Disservice: Subverted. Just before Olivia is killed off she undresses and is seen in her underwear. However she puts a baggy sweater on thus eliminating the Disservice element.
  • 15 Minutes of Fame: Jill's motivation for the killings.
  • Foreshadowing: At the afterparty, most of the gang are drinking alcohol. But Charlie is hitting a Red Bull, both to stay sober and to keep energetic while killing.
  • Film Within A Film: Stab 6 within Stab 7 within Scream 4, with a reappearance of Stab 1 halfway through the film.
  • Groin Attack: Jill to Trevor. With a gunshot.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: It has got to start feeling that way to poor Sid. The sad part is with Jill and Charlie donning the mask for reasons that have almost no connection to the original murders, it's unlikely that it's ever going to stop. There will always be psychopaths who go after Sidney because she's famous for being the ultimate Final Girl. She'll probably be dodging killers and watching people die until her old age. Luckily she has gotten very, very good at it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Dewey realizes that the supposed Final Girl, Jill is the real killer because she mentions that she and Gale have "matching wounds". The details of the killer's assault on Gale had not been revealed to the public, so Jill would have no way of knowing unless she was the one who attacked Gale.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A cop is stabbed in the forehead. And still lives long enough for some Black Comedy Famous Last Words.
  • It Runs in the Family: One of the killers, Charlie, is played by Rory Culkin - the brother of Macaulay Culkin, who has played a sociopathic killer not once but twice, in The Good Son and Party Monster.
    • As of this movie, might also be the case in-universe with the Roberts family. Both Sidney’s half-brother Roman and first cousin Jill turn out to be psychopathic murderers.
  • The Lad-ette: Kirby, a brash, snarky, tomboyish horror buff who makes the first move on a timid boy she's into.
  • Made of Iron: Holy crap, Jill. The girl scratches herself, pulls out her hair, stabs herself in the shoulder, runs her face into a glass picture frame, and then throws herself through a glass coffee table. At the hospital she's still able to start up another rampage, nearly killing Sidney and Dewey. A defibrillator to the head only momentarily slows her down. It isn't until she shot directly in the heart that she stops. She's probably the toughest killer yet.
  • Moment Killer: Oh, Trevor, why did you interrupt the geek getting the girl?
  • Near Villain Victory: Jill nearly gets away with her plan, except a) Sidney survives her attack and b) she mentions how she and Gale have matching wounds, despite the fact that she should have no way of knowing that.
  • Not Quite Dead: A rare heroic example — Sidney, who was presumed to have been killed, managed to survive after all. Wild Mass Guessing also claims that Kirby may have survived. There also seems to be hope for Robbie.
    • Alas, Robbie is confirmed on screen to be with his ancestors, complete with body on view. Kirby, on the other hand, may indeed be just hiding.
  • Offhand Backhand: Sydney pulls one by casually turning and shooting an attacking Not Quite Dead Jill with a handgun.
  • Oh, Crap: Gale and Dewey upon realizing that Jill is the killer.
  • Outlaw Couple: Charlie thought that he and Jill were this. Unfortunately for him, Jill was looking to play the Final Girl instead. Emphasis on Final.
  • Plot Armor: Discussed in regards to Sidney. She still has it.
  • Police Are Useless: Hoss and Perkins are nowhere to be found while Olivia is being stabbed to death. Really, any cop in this series not named Dewey is pretty much hopeless.
    • They even note that police in horror films tend to be worthless, and die. They're right on both counts.
  • Polish The Turd: Parodied in the cast/crew section on the film's website, where all of the actors' bios are heavily glowing, praising their careers. When you read the one for David Arquette, however, you realize that the whole thing's a joke.
    David Arquette is an actor, writer, director and producer whose unique sensibility makes him one of the most versatile talents working in the entertainment industry today, able to segue from comedy to drama with extraordinary ease. This makes David Arquette extremely uncomfortable, because of the fact that he is writing this bio himself and it seems arrogant to boast about his incredible talents in such a way while also referring to himself in the third person.
  • Red Herring: The movie likes to hint at Trevor. He really was just trying to protect Jill, after all. Too bad she didn't need protection.
    • The movie also briefly hints at Judy. Having a creepy "I remember you even if you don't remember me" conversation in a shadowy hallway ends up meaning nothing.
  • Remember the New Guy: Judy Hicks, the new deputy, was an old classmate of Sidney's back in high school and says that her and Sidney used to act in plays together, despite not seen nor mentioned in the very first film. Sidney lampshades that she does not remember meeting her at all.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Kirby and, to some degree, Robbie and Charlie. Though in Kirby's case, she may be alive since unlike the other two they never confirmed she was dead. (While a lot of fans argue Miss Reed is dead, a lot of fans argue she isn't - and on the DVD/Blu-ray commentary track Hayden Panettiere and Wes Craven confirm that Kirby's fate is indeed left unclear, a rarity for a series that likes to make sure we know who's Killed Off for Real. Craven has subsequently Tweeted that he doesn't think Kirby's gone to the great big cinema in the sky, and see also Executive Meddling above.)
  • Shout-Out: One of the characters is named after Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates in Psycho.
    • The film has several ShoutOuts to Alfred Hitchcock: A character named Marnie, and at least two background references to Rear Window, for instance.
    • The film also has several events (seen and/or referenced) that are ShoutOuts to previous films in the series. For example, Jenny's chase scene echoes both Sidney's first encounter with Ghostface in the original, and Tatum's death by garage door.
  • Something Only The Culprit Would Know: Jill and Gale's "matching wounds."
    • With the invention of the internet and dozens of witnesses, nevermind a rather lengthy time between her attack and the events that led to the hospital scene (enough for a news report), was it out of the question that the details of the crime were already reported and she heard about them? Not hard for the news to say "this famous author got stabbed in the shoulder." Hello Fridge Logic. Possibly justified as Dewey from an earlier scene is clearly oblivious to how fast information spreads, and in this case he's right.
    • However, the news report aired, presumably, after Kirby got Jill from the house (since Kirby left before the attack) and it's easy to assume they never saw the news report. Robby and Charlie were too freaked out from the attack, given that they believed their lives would go to shit thanks to the attack happening at an event THEY were throwing. They were right.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Subverted like there's no tomorrow. Characters are thrown at us as being replacements for the characters of the original film, but most of the new characters die, the apparent Sidney replacement turns out to be the killer, and we even get a Billy replacement who is almost successfully framed for all the murders.
    • Hell, the entire new cast is built up as a counterpart to someone from the original:
      • Jill: Sidney
      • Kirby: Tatum
      • Trevor: Billy
      • Robbie: Randy
      • Charlie: Stu
      • Judy: Dewey
      • Rebecca: Gale
  • Those Two Guys: Deputies Anthony Perkins and Ross Hoss fall under this.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Rebecca. After Ghostface appears on the hood of her car that she has locked herself in and reveals he cut the wires, he disappears when she tries to signal a car down. Instead of staying in the car and calling the cops to rescue her, she gets out of the car and runs for the parking garage exit. Take a guess as to how well that turns out.
    • Robbie may count as well, considering that he went walking outside, alone, drunk, when he knew there was a killer on the loose. Though he may have thought he was safe due to the rules started in the film class scene. Not really the case, though.
    • Perkins gets himself killed, along with Hoss, by choosing to joke around.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer makes it look like they're spoiling Gale's death, but she survives yet again.
    • It also makes it appear as if Ghostface is in Jill's closet. Not really the case, AT ALL. It did, however, spoil Robbie's death, Hoss' and Perkins's deaths, Rebecca's death, and Marnie's body crashing through the window.
      • Another trailer shows Ghostface attacking Olivia from her closet. And you can throw in Kate's death having been spoiled as well.
  • Trilogy Creep
  • True Companions: Sidney, Gale, Dewey and Randy. Sidney and Gale are a particularly good example in that despite their long history together they never really become friends — but have saved each other's lives numerous times and know they can count on each other.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Averted by Hicks. "Wear the vest, save your chest.". It's worth noting that this is the only time this trope was featured in the Scream franchise.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Arguably Jill goes through this in the end after her entire plan falls apart and basically turns to Taking You with Me.
  • Where It All Began: Woodsboro.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jill's self-mutilation in order to make people think she was a victim.
    • And unlike the last time it was tried, it succeeds.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Charlie.

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